(AP) — After setting a franchise record for home wins in 2009-10, the Charlotte Bobcats should be excited to begin play at Time Warner Cable Arena this season.
The Bobcats look to carry over that success as they open their home schedule Friday night against the Indiana Pacers.
Charlotte went 44-38 last season and made the playoffs for the first time in its six-year history. The Bobcats recorded 31 of those victories at home, where they averaged 98.3 points – 6.1 more than they did while going 13-28 on the road.
Poised to make another run to the playoffs, the Bobcats get the chance to build on that home success Friday – their only home date of their first five games.
Charlotte has held the Pacers to 96.0 points per game while winning four of five at home in the series, but needs to show improvement after a 101-86 loss at Dallas on Wednesday. Tyrus Thomas had 22 points off the bench while Gerald Wallace added 16 and nine boards, but the Bobcats shot 39.7 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
More efforts like that won’t be tolerated by a team with such high expectations.
“With everybody having the taste of the playoffs last year, I think the drive is here and everybody wants to get back there,” veteran swingman Stephen Jackson told the Bobcats’ official website.
A former Pacer, Jackson has totaled 42 points in his last two games against Indiana. However, he had 10 during a 104-88 home win over the Pacers on Nov. 22. That was Charlotte’s only victory in three games versus Indiana last season.
Third-year center Roy Hibbert has 32 points and 18 rebounds in six career games versus Charlotte, but appears ready to break out after posting 28 and nine boards during Indiana’s 122-109 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday.
“Offensively I feel like I’m coming into my own, but defensively I need to get better,” Hibbert said.
Pacers star Danny Granger had 26 points against the Spurs, and has averaged 25.1 points in his last seven games against the Bobcats.
Indiana won the season series with Charlotte in 2009-10, despite committing 52 turnovers. After averaging 15.0 turnovers last season, Indiana was especially sloppy versus the Spurs, committing 23 in the loss.
“Our main focus now is turnovers,” Granger told the Pacers’ official website. “We knew before the game that if we turned the ball over, especially 23 times, that we were going to lose. “That’s the way it is as we simply can’t turn the ball over that many times. That’s going to be our biggest challenge this year.”
Acquired in a five-player, four-team trade in August, Darren Collison had 19 points and seven assists as the Pacers’ new point guard.
Collison scored 24 points in each of his two games against Charlotte as a rookie with New Orleans last season. He shot 17 of 31 in those contests.